Sunday, January 19, 2014

A Hike as an Imagined Book

Our first hike of the new year was in Tilden Park, a huge resource to those who live in the San Francisco Bay Area and perhaps less known, but equally spectacular, to visitors from beyond. It has been a ridiculously dry and windy winter, which has brought us an attention to a different kind of detail: the wind has shaken loose lichen and sticks and lichen on sticks and moss of varying names. My favorite, I learned at the Oakland Museum of California, is wolf lichen.

The trail was packed with ambling couples, dogwalkers, ambitious outdoorsfolk, groups of wandering children and adults. As I busily scanned the ground by a creek trail for new kinds of lichen, I heard a woman mention "holes." Across the creek, a view normally shielded by foliage, but now exposed, was this…

Mysterious. Like cave dwellings. Imagining this walk in book form, I saw that it contained much that revealed and concealed. The cover would be woody, mossy, very textural. The first openings would have cutouts to show the paths beyond, layering like a topographic map. Every now and then a turned page would reveal a dog, a particularly lovely stick with lichen, a tree with a cave in it, overheard conversation from the trail. Leaves would abandon the trees, fall away. And then you might see this sight: a distant view with holes in the hills, leaving you to wonder about who or what might live there, and how they might be viewing us. New ways of seeing. 

1 comment:

Velma Bolyard said...

i love this--much to think about as usual, alisa!